More help with Pyramiding?

Toddrickfl1

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I think your closed chamber is to open. If I misted my closed chambers for 30 second once a day, they would literally be sopping wet in a few days. I add no moisture to them. The only moisture added is what the tortoises themselves track in and out of the water bowls. Each of mine has vent slits in all along the back and sides, and the front doors have 1/4-1/8 inch gap too. Room humidity is usually around 30-40%.

We have warm spells in the 70s and sometimes 80s all winter long here, so sunning is never an issue for me. With that, the RepCal, and Mazuri, I'll never see a hint of MBD. I'm reminded of Kristina. She was a moderator here on TFO years ago. She had a large tortoise collection with many species. She lived in Cadillac MI, and her tortoises all lived outside in the warm summer months. She brought them all in for winter every year for 6-7 months, and never used a single UV bulb of any kind. She had no problems doing this year after year.
That's what I do with my Redfoots outside in summer and inside all winter with no artificial UVA/UVB.
 

peridot

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I am on board with everything that @Tom , @Markw84 and @zovick said. I raise perfectly smooth radiated tortoises in my closed chamber with no CHE, no basking lamp - just a 6500k grow bulb and a UVB tube whose height is set to provide a UVI of 1 to 2 at the carapace. I also provide hides and lots of fake plants for them to get out of the light.

I have seen @zovick grow babies nearly as smooth in the way he described above. One common denominator between my setup and @zovick's is that we both heat the entire room - not individual enclosures. We don't use CHE's or basking lamps at all for young tortoises. This might be a factor as we do not rely on spot-type heating systems. @zovick also soaked his young tortoises every day for years.....I suspect this had a lot to do with their shell hydration.

Recently, because of things I have witnessed with young Bowsprit tortoises, I have raised my UV fixture all the way up so the UVI is no more than 1. This has eliminated some curious pyramiding I had experience with a Bowsprit baby raised in 100% RH conditions. My 3 recent babies have not had the issue since I raised the bulbs.

Like @Tom, I am considering not using UVB bulbs at all - but I haven't gone there quite yet.

I agree with @Tom - if you are running a mister 3 times a day and your enclosure isn't at 100% RH and swamp-like, then way too much humidity is escaping. If you have a truly closed chamber and use a substrate like coco or orchid bark, you won't need the mister at all. I can keep near 100% RH in mine (if I want) very, very easily just through the moist substrate.

As Markw said, I also don't think you are going to get the growth much smoother now that you have the existing pyramiding.

I would like to see a picture of your enclosure.
I think your closed chamber is to open. If I misted my closed chambers for 30 second once a day, they would literally be sopping wet in a few days. I add no moisture to them. The only moisture added is what the tortoises themselves track in and out of the water bowls. Each of mine has vent slits in all along the back and sides, and the front doors have 1/4-1/8 inch gap too. Room humidity is usually around 30-40%.

We have warm spells in the 70s and sometimes 80s all winter long here, so sunning is never an issue for me. With that, the RepCal, and Mazuri, I'll never see a hint of MBD. I'm reminded of Kristina. She was a moderator here on TFO years ago. She had a large tortoise collection with many species. She lived in Cadillac MI, and her tortoises all lived outside in the warm summer months. She brought them all in for winter every year for 6-7 months, and never used a single UV bulb of any kind. She had no problems doing this year after year.
Right now I'm on the waiting list for his giant new enclosure. So, his current one is nothing to look at. He's too big to include anything other then a warm and cool hide. I'm trying to keep him outside as much as possible until his new indoor enclosure arrives. It's a closed chamber from Animal Plastics. Unfortunately, I'm unable to heat the entire room, as it's a large open room with no door.

He's 3 years now and I soaked him every day until this year, when I switched to every other day. Do you think my best bet would be to switch to Radiant Heat Panels and cycle the UVB so it's not running as much?

Also, when you say it's not going to get much smoother, I totally understand that. I know this wont go away, but will it just keep getting worse?
 

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Tom

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Right now I'm on the waiting list for his giant new enclosure. So, his current one is nothing to look at. He's too big to include anything other then a warm and cool hide. I'm trying to keep him outside as much as possible until his new indoor enclosure arrives. It's a closed chamber from Animal Plastics. Unfortunately, I'm unable to heat the entire room, as it's a large open room with no door.

He's 3 years now and I soaked him every day until this year, when I switched to every other day. Do you think my best bet would be to switch to Radiant Heat Panels and cycle the UVB so it's not running as much?

Also, when you say it's not going to get much smoother, I totally understand that. I know this wont go away, but will it just keep getting worse?
AP cages are great, but they take SOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOO damn long. I love them, but this waiting time is killing them. I started buying mine from @Markw84 instead, but that isn't helpful to you a this stage. You'll love your AP cage when you finally get it. Did you buy the T-100? Please post pics once its set up. I'll have serious enclosure envy going on.

I don't think RHPs vs CHEs will make much difference in your current set up. I like to use bright LEDs for ambient lighting all day, and then only run UV for and hour or two mid day, but as I said before, I've stopped using indoor UV entirely now. My species also require a basking lamp which helps to heat the whole enclosure up drumming the day. You could run two RHPs in the new enclosure. One set to 80 for the overall low 24/7, and the other on a timer to raise ambient up during the day. I don't know ideal indoor ambient for radiata, but I'd guess 85-90.

@Sterant @zovick Please advise on ideal radiata temps for day and night?
 

zovick

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Right now I'm on the waiting list for his giant new enclosure. So, his current one is nothing to look at. He's too big to include anything other then a warm and cool hide. I'm trying to keep him outside as much as possible until his new indoor enclosure arrives. It's a closed chamber from Animal Plastics. Unfortunately, I'm unable to heat the entire room, as it's a large open room with no door.

He's 3 years now and I soaked him every day until this year, when I switched to every other day. Do you think my best bet would be to switch to Radiant Heat Panels and cycle the UVB so it's not running as much?

Also, when you say it's not going to get much smoother, I totally understand that. I know this wont go away, but will it just keep getting worse?
It is my opinion that the new growth will be flatter than the existing growth assuming you hydrate the tortoise well (soak 20 minutes daily) then feed it as much as it will eat daily with good supplements (see my post #17). Personally, I don't think the UV lights hurt anything, so I would use them all day as I described in the post just mentioned, but that's up to you.

As the tortoise gets larger and larger, the pyramids will become less and less noticeable in comparison to the size of the animal. Even if they won't disappear completely, the animal should not look grotesquely pyramided.
 

Sterant

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Agreed - the new growth can definitely start to come in much flatter than the old growth if you get the humidity up but as you know the existing pyramiding will remain - though it can become less noticeable as the tortoise gets larger. As for temperatures, I use about 87f during the day and I let it drop to 70f at night for babies and adults.
 

Markw84

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Agreed - the new growth can definitely start to come in much flatter than the old growth if you get the humidity up but as you know the existing pyramiding will remain - though it can become less noticeable as the tortoise gets larger. As for temperatures, I use about 87f during the day and I let it drop to 70f at night for babies and adults.
I would love to see pictures of that on a star or radiated or leopard that is already this big. I would love to add that to my file of pyramiding studies. You can get that change with bigger tortoises like sulcatas as their scutes grow over 15x the width of the original areolae. I have certainly tried on several stars and cannot change the growth pattern once they are that developed - even though put in conditions that grow perfectly smooth young ones. @peridot please keep us updated on your efforts and how this tortoise does.
 

turtlesteve

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@Markw84 I know it was not directed to me but here is some food for thought. Mild pyramiding in my Burmese stars stopped immediately when I made changes to husbandry last year. It did not persist or improve gradually. Photos are two separate tortoises.

I do not know if this is possible for more severe pyramiding.

A4662E99-55BC-46A9-8560-D8A66B3F6677.jpeg C3E14F5F-CD1A-4A50-8C1E-3E2EC7FBFC82.jpeg
 

Markw84

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@Markw84 I know it was not directed to me but here is some food for thought. Mild pyramiding in my Burmese stars stopped immediately when I made changes to husbandry last year. It did not persist or improve gradually. Photos are two separate tortoises.

I do not know if this is possible for more severe pyramiding.

View attachment 306457 View attachment 306458
Thanks, Steve. How old are they? Looks like about 3 yr old Burmese? Old enough to prove I was wrong! That is pretty dramatic change and their growth is certainly past double original scute. Let's keep updating to see how this progresses! Love it! thank you,
 

Sterant

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I would love to see pictures of that on a star or radiated or leopard that is already this big. I would love to add that to my file of pyramiding studies. You can get that change with bigger tortoises like sulcatas as their scutes grow over 15x the width of the original areolae. I have certainly tried on several stars and cannot change the growth pattern once they are that developed - even though put in conditions that grow perfectly smooth young ones. @peridot please keep us updated on your efforts and how this tortoise does.
Yes Mark - if you remember (I know you do) our conversation about "reverse pyramiding" in radiated tortoises - I have had at least a few instances where I got tortoises that were pyramiding, and not only got new growth to flatten out, but go beyond flat and start to "reverse pyramid" (not something I endeavor to do). It is absolutely possible with radiated tortoises. I will say, radiated tortoises seem to be unique in a few areas related to pyramiding and growth vs other species. I have seen radiated tortoises where you could tell exactly when conditions were changed as they moved from one owner to another. Pyramided for a while, then flat, then pyramiding, then flat, etc...

But to be clear - and clarify what I said in post #19.....I have not seen older pyramided growth get smoother as new flat growth comes in. The shell as a whole can start to look much smoother as new flat growth comes in and the tortoise gets much larger (as @zovick said earlier), but I don't think the old growth is actually changing. Perhaps some internal physical force that acts over time could, in fact, pull old pyramiding a bit flatter. That would be very cool - but I have never seen or tried to quantify that.
 
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turtlesteve

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Thanks, Steve. How old are they? Looks like about 3 yr old Burmese? Old enough to prove I was wrong! That is pretty dramatic change and their growth is certainly past double original scute. Let's keep updating to see how this progresses! Love it! thank you,
The big one is going on 7 I think, and probably 3-3.5 kg. The smaller one is 5 ish (don’t remember exactly) but grew slowly for the first couple years.
 

Tortisedonk7

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Hello all
I’m no expert at raising tortoises, In fact I’m quite new. However I did want to mention one thing about lighting/intensity that I did not see in any off the previous posts.
Sun Light intensity and day length is different depending on How close to the equator you get. Higher latitudes experience less light intensity (mostly UV) because of the way it bounces off the earths ionosphere and magnetic field. Knowing that i would say different tortoise species would have differing light values and day lengths/seasonal changes.
Ie: North American, Greek, Russian vs Sulcata, radiata, Indian star vs Red foot, yellow foot, brown/black mountain tortoise.

The first group would experience the least light intensity and the most dramatic seasonal change as their general habitat is farthest from the equator.
The second group would have slightly less seasonal/ day length change and more light intensity as they are a bit closer to the equator.
The third group would experience the most light intensity virtually no change in day length and no seasonal change other than wet/dry season. As their general range is very near the equator. Hence why they are mostly forest dwellers usually staying out of the intense sun.
Now I know I have generalized here and I have not included every tortoise species or the exact ranges or each. I realize each species may have it’s own broad range. So please don’t ding me.
Just some food for thought when considering your lighting.
 

TeamZissou

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Hello all
I’m no expert at raising tortoises, In fact I’m quite new. However I did want to mention one thing about lighting/intensity that I did not see in any off the previous posts.
Sun Light intensity and day length is different depending on How close to the equator you get. Higher latitudes experience less light intensity (mostly UV) because of the way it bounces off the earths ionosphere and magnetic field. Knowing that i would say different tortoise species would have differing light values and day lengths/seasonal changes.
Ie: North American, Greek, Russian vs Sulcata, radiata, Indian star vs Red foot, yellow foot, brown/black mountain tortoise.

The first group would experience the least light intensity and the most dramatic seasonal change as their general habitat is farthest from the equator.
The second group would have slightly less seasonal/ day length change and more light intensity as they are a bit closer to the equator.
The third group would experience the most light intensity virtually no change in day length and no seasonal change other than wet/dry season. As their general range is very near the equator. Hence why they are mostly forest dwellers usually staying out of the intense sun.
Now I know I have generalized here and I have not included every tortoise species or the exact ranges or each. I realize each species may have it’s own broad range. So please don’t ding me.
Just some food for thought when considering your lighting.
This may be true, but we cannot come close to matching the sun's absolute intensity with indoor conditions. Per @Markw84 's post that would equal 100,000 lumens/m. If we were able to match that, the tortoises would stay hidden all of the time.
 

solidsounds17

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While I appreciate the recognition from Tom for raising smooth Radiated Tortoises, I am probably not the best one to give advice on the way to do it. I did everything incorrectly by today's standards: I never used a closed chamber nor provided a single humid hide for my baby tortoises. I kept their Reptisun 10.0 T-12, then later T-8, and finally T-5 fluorescent tubes on from 8 AM to 10 PM every day, fed them lots of grocery store greens, plus numerous fruits, kale, and romaine lettuce, etc.. I did put Herptivite vitamins and Ultrafine Rep-Cal WITH vitamin D3 on their food daily, and kept food available to them all day, every day. Once a month I put Avian Bene-Bac on their food as well.

I never fed my tortoises Mazuri or any other prepared commercial diets, even when the manufacturers of a couple of them offered to provide their products to me free of charge if I would allow them to advertise the fact that I was using them.

I religiously soaked my tortoises daily until they were several years old. This is probably the only thing I did which is being recommended today.

All that being said, I do think the closed chambers are the best way for 99.9% of people to raise smooth baby Radiated (and other) Tortoises today.
Do you have a social media for your torts?
 

Idahorosie1

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@peridot From what I know and see, there is little you can now do with the pyramiding on your radiata. Because of its age/size, I believe the bone has already ossified and growing in a plane that will not change at this point. From what I am seeing in my studies and experiements, once the growth of a star or radiated gets to where the new growth from growth seam to areolae is equal to the width of the areolae (original baby scute) the bone along the vertebrals has developed a growth plane established by growth up to that point. Since the bones are more numerous than the scutes along the vertebrals, many of the bones are now tipped along that new plane and are not even in contact with a scute growth seam. Bones grow along their length, not at the seams like scutes do. So you have a situation where the pattern is now set. Up until the time when the space between areolae is equal to the width of the areolae, you can dramatically smooth out new growth and change that pattern. But once the new growth pattern is greater than the original areolae width, the plane of entire vertebral bones have been altered.

If you look at the seams between costals and vertebrals you can see there is a smoothing happening. In that case there is a single bone going down from the vertebral bone down to the marginals. So that bone can be affected yet by the pressure applied by the growing keratin at the vertebral/costal seam.

The hypothesis I am working on, that seems to be holding true from both @Tom and my experiences so far, is that the lighting we provide in our enclosures has way too much UVA as a percentage of total light if we are using the UVB lights currently on the market. In order to get sufficient UVB levels, the UVA also produces is way higher than would be present in natural sunlight as a percentage of total "light". The light we provide in eclosures is much dimmer and less intense than natural sunlight. So when we add a fixture that is 35% UVA in its total output of energy, that gives us a lighting situation that is probably 10%-20% of the total light intensity in the enclosure being UVA. In natural sunlight, UVA is perhaps 1% of the total light.

UVA is the primary aging factor that causes us to age in the sun. It causes fabrics to fade, plastics to degrade and become brittle. It is used to cure paints and many epoxies. It is used in nail salons to cure the acrylic nail polish used. It certainly could cause new keratin to harden or "cure" more quickly.

But we also have another factor contributing to this. Altered behavior of captive tortoises. In the wild a young tortoise very rarely comes out in the open. When they do bask, it is normally early mornings to heat up for the day. Tropical tortoises often forage in evenings. My burmese stars stay in their night box until about sunset, them come out and eat and graze until about 9 PM when they return to sleep for the night. They avoid the sun. The most recent study I read on sulcata populations talks about their having to do their study in August only, as any other month, it would be rare to see a sulcata above ground. August is the month it rains and all the plants grow. The rest of the time, the tortoise remain hidden. The intensity of the natural sunlight is something they naturally learn to avoid most of the time. The intensity of the lighting in most enclosures is no where near intense enough to tell a tortoise there is too much UV! A similar intensity of natural light at dusk or dawn would carry virtually no UV.

In our enclosures, inside and out, our tortoise become much more used to us and the daily activities. they are out and about much more than they ever would be in the wild. The soon loose the natural instinct to stay hidden as they eagerly wait the day's food offerings. The light we provide is so dim, it never triggers any reflex to find cover.

They are exposed to much more UV than they ever would be in the wild.

@wellington So what to do when we need to provide UVB in the north in winter? I personally would do what I have been suggesting in as many posts as possible this past year or so.

Provide bright lights in the enclosure. Plenty of 5000k 90+ cri lights to create something more like daylight.
Use the basking incadescent to add warmer 2500k lighting and the basking heat.
Add midday peak UVB light but limit it to just 1-2 hours midday maybe 3-4 days a week.
Provide lots of natural plant hides for shade and cover.

Once you have that, I cycle the lighting where the basking comes on first for my "dawn". Perhaps 7AM
Then the ambient lighting - the array of LED comes on at 7:30
3 or 4 days a week the UVB goes on at 12 am and off at 1:30
The ambient LEDs go off at 8:30PM
The basking light goes off at 9PM

IF you look at the salt water aquarium world, they have come a long way in understanding and offering great lighting solutions. The fish, the corals, the natural reefs all have become healthy environments in the home salt water aquarium. They found lighting a key and vital part of making that possible. We are only now starting to realize the importance of proper light for our tortoises.
So, should I use a natural daylight light bulb with CFI heat ?
 
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